In what is thought to be one of the largest medical malpractice awards in Pennsylvania history, a jury recently awarded $6.4 million to the five children of a man whose heart condition was misdiagnosed as pneumonia. As a result of the failure to undiagnosed heart condition, the man was discharged and later died after suffering a massive heart attack.
The verdict includes $5.5 million for the children's loss of guidance, education and moral upbringing. The children left behind range in age from 3-years old to 11-years old.
Despite the symptoms being consistent with a possible heart condition, the hospital apparently failed to take action and instead prescribed Motrin and Azithromycin. Three months after the patient's release, he was playing basketball and suffered the heart attack. Apparently, the heart attack was the result of complete arterial blockage.
Sadly, the end did not come quickly for this individual. The father of the children was placed in a pharmacologically induced coma to which he remained for an additional two months. He remained in such a coma until he died on November 12, 2009.
The attorney for the children rightly suggested this to be a fair and just verdict. "These young children lost their dad, and no amount of money can replace them."
We often forget that medical malpractice verdicts are not simply for the individual that was injured due to a misdiagnosis or medical mistake. Many other people are also dependent upon such individuals for their care, and it's only right that those responsible for such a medical mistake should compensate those that have suffered such a loss.
Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Jury awards man's children $6.4 million in medical malpractice case; among the largest such awards in Pa. in years," by Ross Feller, June 1, 2012